Every Bleach Hero that Died: How Did They Die & Who Killed Them?

Every Bleach Hero that Died so Far: How Did They Die & Who Killed Them?

Like every good story, Tite Kubo’s Bleach features a fair dose of death, possibly even more than your average story because it is closely associated with the recurring subject of death. Now, while in most cases it’s the villains who perish throughout the story, if you want your storry to have substance, you have to kill one or two heroes as well. Throughout the 74 volumes of Bleach, several heroes have lost their lives and in this article, we are going to tell you how each of them died and who killed them. This list is only going to include only canon stories and not filler ones. The deaths included are going to be the permanent ones and will be ordered chronologically.

Kaien Shiba

Manner of Death: Killed by Rukia Kuchiki while being possessed by the Hollow Metastacia

How did Kaien Shiba die?

He was married to Miyako, who held the 3rd rank in the 13th Division. She was, by Rukia’s description, strong, wise, pure of heart, and equally beautiful. After she went out with a small squad to eliminate a Hollow and died at the hands of it, Kaien wanted revenge on that Hollow. So he went to the Hollow’s lair with Rukia and Jūshirō Ukitake and fought him alone to keep his pride.

However, his Zanpakutō broke and he was only able to fight the Hollow with his bare hands. The Hollow took advantage and used its ability to take over Kaien’s body. Since the Hollow could no longer be separated from Kaien’s body, Kaien had to be killed. First Jūshirō wanted to take over this task, but his illness prevented him from doing it. So now Rukia had to fulfill this task, but she couldn’t stand up to Kaien, who had already done so much for her.

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She stood facing him motionless with her Zanpakutō drawn, frozen in shock. Kaien, or rather the Hollow, attacked Rukia and jumped straight into Rukia’s Zanpakutō. Kaien thanked Rukia and “left his heart with her”. Rukia brought Kaien to Kūkaku and Ganju, where he died with a smile on his face. His body completely dissolved. Since Rukia didn’t tell them what happened, Kūkaku and Ganju initially thought that Rukia murdered him and didn’t understand why Kaien didn’t hate Rukia. It wasn’t until Jūshirō Ukitake explained everything to Kūkaku that Kūkaku forgave Rukia when she apologized.

Masaki Kurosaki

Manner of Death: Killed by the Hollow Grand Fisher after having been weakened by Yhwach

How did Masaki Kurosaki die?

Masaki passed away when Ichigo was 9 years old. They were walking together when Ichigo saw a girl who seemed to be in danger, but this was just a trap set by the hollow Grand Fisher who wanted to eat Ichigo, but Masaki was protecting Ichigo and was killed by Grand Fisher. Officially, Masaki was run over by a car. At first, Ichigo blamed himself for her death, until the day he found out the hollow was responsible.

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Almost two years later, Isshin told Ichigo that someone else was to blame for Masaki’s death and it was Yhwach. He had used his “Selection” technique at the time to restore his lost powers, stealing the powers of all “impure” Quincys. Normally, Masaki would have survived Grand Fisher’s attack with no problem. However, through Yhwachs’ interference, her powers were also taken away, which led to her death.

Sōken Ishida

Manner of Death: Killed in battle with several strong Hollows

How did Sōken Ishida die?

He trained his son Ryūken. When he got older, however, he decided not to become a Quincy and so not to inherit his father. Ultimately, this also resulted in Ryūken forbidding his son Uryū from having contact with and training with Sōken. Nevertheless, they trained together. Sōken taught a rather unusual Quincy philosophy, namely that they should cooperate with the shinigami.

He even attempted to introduce a new system of Hollow combat, which is that instead of the Quincy annihilating the soul, the Quincy would stop the Hollow from killing on Earth until a Shinigami showed up and cleansed the Hollow’s soul of its sins. However, this proposal was never accepted and ultimately he was killed by Hollows because the responsible Shinigami showed up too late.

Mayuri Kurotsuchi later revealed to Uryū that he, the commander of the 12th Division, was personally responsible for this: he assigned the responsible Shinigami to other tasks until Sōken was dead and then ordered them to take the Quincy’s corpse with them for Mayuri to examine and do tests on. Since this realization, Uryū’s hatred of Shinigami in general because of that very incident has focused less on Shinigami in general and much more on Mayuri.

Chōjirō Sasakibe

Manner of Death: Killed by the Sternritter Driscoll Berci in combat

How did Chōjirō Sasakibe die?

He is first seen in a long time, just after he was impaled by a Heilig Pfeil by the Sternritter invaders. Despite his serious injuries, he still manages to speak in the division room and give the Captain-Commander the information that the foreigners are able to steal their Bankai. Shortly thereafter, he succumbed to his wounds and died. After Byakuya had used his Bankai for the first time in the fight against the Sternritter, he was still inferior to them. Later Chōjirō got a cremation. The loss of his most loyal friend hit Captain-Commander very hard.

Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto

Manner of Death: Killed by Yhwach in combat

How did Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto die?

During the fighting against the Sternritter, the Captains, including Yamamoto, learned that the enemy could not seal the Bankai, as assumed but steal them (since four Captains had already lost their Bankai). He later received the message that Ichigo was immune to this technique and was therefore on his way to Soul Society.

While searching for the enemy, Yamamoto saved Hisagi’s life and protected him from Driscoll Berci. As it turns out, it was the one who killed Chojirio and stole his Bankai. He tried to kill Yamamoto with it, but after that, it was much weaker than Chojirio’s and thus a shame for him, which only increased his anger towards Driscoll even more. Yamamoto then burned his opponent to ashes with an attack.

Shortly thereafter, he set off in a rage toward his next opponent and leader of the Vanden Empire: Yhwach. Before he could launch his attack, Äs Nödt, NaNaNa Najahkoop, and another Star Knight appeared. However, all three were defeated without much of a fight. After Yhwach taunted his subordinates, Yamamoto launched his attack on him, forcing him to bring out his sword.

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However, Yamamoto was only waiting for this because he could smash his flesh, blood, soul, and sword into small pieces, whereupon Ryujin Jakka’s flames dissipate and Yamamoto unleashes his Bankai, Zanka no Tachi. So it came to a fight that looked good for Yamamoto. The Captain-Commander had figured out why his and Ichigo’s Bankai couldn’t be stolen until now.

He explained that this is because he never revealed all of his bankai’s techniques and because Ichigo’s Bankai is still under development, they could not be fully analyzed. Yamamoto then used the full power of his bankai to overwhelm and defeat Yhwach with his power. However, after the fight, it was revealed that the Yhwach he fought was a fake.

The real Yhwach had attacked the 1st Division’s quarters and was only now coming to the battlefield. Yamamoto quickly attempted to overpower him again with his Bankai, but it was revealed that only the real Yhwach had enough reiatsu to steal it. The leader of the Wandenreich summoned a blade, which he then used to sever Yamamoto’s torso. Even after his death, Yamamoto tries to raise his Zanpakuto one more time, after which Yhwach cuts off his arm as well, mocking him as a weakling.

Retsu Unohana

Manner of Death: Killed by Kenpachi Zaraki while training with him so he could unleash his full power

How did Retsu Unohana die?

After Kenpachi’s defeat against the supposed Yhwach, Royd Lloyd, Unohana is commissioned by the Central 46 to take charge of Kenpachi’s training in Zanjutsu, stating that as the First Kenpachi, she is the only one who can deal with him. After the meeting, Unohana leaves a letter for her Lieutenant Isane, in which she probably says that she will not be able to return. Kenpachi leaves his eyepatch to Yachiru, as a symbol that he may not be able to return as well.

Already in the Muken prison, the only place where his powers will not cause a catastrophe, Unoahana is waiting for Zaraki. The battle begins while elsewhere, Shunsui Kyoraku affirms that despite the nature of both combatants, one of them will not come out alive. Zaraki launches an attack against Retsu Unohana with his Zanpakutō, however, it is stopped by Unohana’s own Zanpakutō.

After several thrusts, Kenpachi jumps on the Captain in a ferocious attack with the aim of killing her. Retsu easily dodges Zaraki’s attack, managing to land a blow on his shoulder; Kenpachi is knocked down for a moment but remains to stand, attacking Unohana again. The Captain jumps on Kenpachi’s arm trying to give him a fatal blow, but a kick from the latter takes her away for a few moments.

Again both Kenpachis collide their swords, however, Unohana sees that Zaraki is reaching his limit and proceeds to attack him, cutting his shoulder again. Retsu tells Zaraki that he is quite weak and that those who wield their swords with one hand and do nothing with the other don’t really enjoy the battle.

Zaraki berates her for cutting him by using a random dagger instead of her Zanpakutō and adds that such tricks show that she has changed a lot from the time he admired her. Retsu Unohana yells at him that he shouldn’t talk like that in the middle of a battle, after cornering him on a rock, him now being at the mercy of her will.

Unohana tells him that he hasn’t changed and that the last time they fought, Kenpachi didn’t have the need to use those cheap tricks. Zaraki asks if he is the one who became weak, stating that he had admired her from the bottom of his heart and that no matter what he cut, it was like swinging his sword in the dark. But when fighting with her, he felt true fear for the first time, adding that he enjoyed every second of that battle and that he had decided to fight like her.

Zaraki sheds tears of despair wondering if he really will die there before defeating her. Zaraki is pierced by Unohana’s Zanpakutō. After that, Zaraki realizes that it is the end, however, apparently, he was imprisoned by an illusion. Returning to reality, Zaraki continues fighting with Retsu Unohana, who asks him what happened a moment ago as, apparently, the latter lost consciousness for a few minutes.

Zaraki tells her to shut her mouth and continues fighting with the Captain. As the battle seems to turn on Retsu’s side, Zaraki is pressured more and more and loses consciousness each time he continues to fight, wondering how many times he has already fallen. Zaraki states that this battle made him quite nostalgic, remembering his first battle with Retsu.

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Kenpachi manages to land a cut on Retsu’s shoulder and continues attacking the Captain without letting her react. Kenpachi is wounded in the chest, and while his blood flows with force, he seems to finally fall before Retsu, however, the Captain uses her abilities in the Healing Kidō to regenerate his wounds.

While they continue fighting, Kenpachi keeps falling one time after another, but Retsu Unohana continues to heal his wounds. Kenpachi manages to land a huge thrust on Unohana, turning the fight around. After receiving the great wound from Zaraki, Unohana continues tying him up, dealing a blow to his cheek.

Retsu regenerates the wound with great speed through her medical Kidō and asks Kenpachi if he really thought that she would die from such an attack. Retsu Unohana proceeds to release her Bankai as a large curtain of black liquid covers the place as Unohana utters her Bankai’s name, Minazuki.

Both Kenpachis fight while Zaraki falls, again and again, his flesh starting to detach from his bones. While Kenpachi wonders if he has been dreaming all along, everything returns to normal as they both cross their swords again. Both manage to land blows but it doesn’t come like anyone is ready to quit fighting.

Retsu Unohana thinks that Kenpachi found a way to suppress his power to enjoy the battle, while she found a way to heal wounds and thus make the battle last forever. Retsu states that there can only be one Kenpachi in each time as she remembers her first fight with Kenpachi while telling him that he has been the only man who has made her happy through the battle.

Unohana says goodbye to Kenpachi while being pierced in the neck by his Zanpakutō, leaving Zaraki as the winner of the great battle and the only existing Kenpachi at the time. Unohana is defeated by being impaled by Zaraki’s Zanpakutō. However, Zaraki’s victory is bitter, as he pleaded with Unohana to not dare die at his hands. Unohana tells him that he was the only man to make her feel happy throughout the battle, while at that moment Zaraki manages to make contact with the spiritual side of his Zanpakutō, which is willing to tell him its name.

Jūshirō Ukitake

Manner of Death: Sacrificed himself to save the Soul King from being killed by Yhwach

How did Jūshirō Ukitake die?

During the invasion, Ukitake sees a huge light in the sky, so he comments that they allowed them to invade the Royal Palace, to which Kyoraku answers in the form of a question if he also noticed, to which Ukitake tells him that Kamikake was quite a success. Kyoraku then confirms what Ukitake said and then adds that they will, at least, be able to handle the tension better, to which Ukitake, with a smile, replies that he sounds like a doctor.

Finally, Kyoraku says goodbye to his friend and tells him to take care of himself. Meanwhile, Ukitake asks Kyoraku where he is headed, and the new Captain-Commander informs him that he will pay a short visit to Central 46. When Ukitake enters the lab with a smile on his face he exclaims that he has completed three rounds of medical treatment and thanks everyone.

Hirako is surprised to see him and asks him what he was doing there at that moment, so Ukitake, very calmly, tells him that he is fine now and that he came to help. Also, due to his frail and sickly nature, he has vast knowledge in healing techniques and thus reports that everyone except Zaraki has been healed to the point of being able to move.

He also thanks Hanataro for helping him. Afterward, he turns around with a smile on his face saying that he’s happy that everyone is alright. When Zaraki enters the laboratory, Ukitake is surprised to see him walking. Ukitake, seeing everyone worried about the Spirit King’s death, decides to act and replace the Spirit King to Kisuke’s surprise.

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A strange presence begins to emerge from Ukitake’s back as the bandages fall off. At that moment Rukia asks him what it is and he tells her that it is Mimihagi-sama, while releasing his Zanpakuto. Ukitake asks her to lend him her powers with the power he has granted her in order to free him and repeats it several times until he finally comes out, surprising everyone.

Finally, Ukitake tells them the brief story of how he met Mimihagi-sama and tells them that now that he is the King’s right-hand man he must protect the Seireitei. As he explains this story, he does not stop suffering and expelling blood from his mouth, shocking all of his fellow Shinigami. It would later be revealed that Ukitake died from replacing his body with that of the Spirit King.

Nemu Kurotsuchi

Manner of Death: Killed by the Sternritter Pernida Parnkgjas in combat

How did Nemu Kurotsuchi die?

In the battle between Mayuri and Pernida, Pernida, being much more agile, begins to launch huge arrows at Mayuri and Nemu, hitting both of them, so both Shinigami cut their arms to avoid being controlled by Pernida, after which Pernida proceeds to make a huge attack. Mayuri then warns Nemu and asks her to leave.

Nemu manages to dodge the huge attack and heads towards Pernida without fear of anything, managing to destroy one of the copies of the Quincy and save Mayuri. After leaving Mayuri in a very tall building, she proceeds to attack Pernida with Konpaku hitting him directly in the eye, which is the center of his hand, thus disintegrating Pernida. He however manages to destroy Nemu in many parts and returns to his former self, but is surrounded by many eyes around him and proceeds to absorb Nemu.

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Mayuri enters a trance and after reconsidering manages to prevent Pernida from taking over Nemu’s brain. At that moment, Pernida’s body begins to suffer the effect of absorbing Nemu, a product of the pituitary gland, and therefore accelerates the degradation of the cells, which causes his self-destruction. Immediately afterwards, Pernida explodes and dies on the battlefield along with Nemu, who is destroyed in the explosion. Mayuri actually showed some emotions and was sad when Nemu died.

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.